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Why normal people do not trust SEO people

I like to consider myself normal, but I am not. I am actually an SEO person trying to pass as normal. If you look closely, you will see the telltale authorship of a search marketing book, the training courses on search marketing, the membership in SEMPO (the search marketing consultants’ organization), and probably a lot more. So today I am writing to all you real normal people. I know you don’t trust us SEO people. I understand.

I received an email that is probably similar to many emails that normal people get every day. When normal people get this kind of email, most of them realize it is a scam, but some of them fall for it and only later realize they have been scammed. Either way, normal people eventually realize that this SEO stuff is a scam. Except it isn’t. I want to use this post to take apart this email to help normal people recognize the difference between scam and real SEO.

Dear business owner of Mikemoran.com,

It starts badly, because it is clear that this person does not know you. That’s a red flag.

I would like to take a few minutes from your schedule and ask for your attention towards Internet marketing for Mikemoran.com.

As a business Owner you might be interested to gain profit by placing your website among top in search engines. 

Now we see the usual poor grammar and weird capitalization that makes you wonder whether you can trust this person. (Hint: You can’t.)

Your website needs immediate improvement for some major issues with your website.

Another red flag–scary language. What happens if you don’t immediately improve?

-Low online presence for many competitive keyword phrases

A vague assertion that presupposes that our correspondent could actually know which keyword phrases you are targeting. My suspicion is that they don’t know, because they didn’t look. The reason I think they didn’t look is because had they looked at my site, you would think they would have decided that I wasn’t the best person to try to sell SEO services to, because I sell them myself.

-Disorganized social media accounts

Again, some might criticize my social media presence, but I suspect it is a lot better than most businesses my size and the word “disorganized” is vague and has no real meaning except that it sounds bad.

-Not compatible with all mobile devices

This is demonstrably untrue, as my site uses a responsive design. So now we have the first outright lie, or at least complete miss in accuracy, if we want to be charitable. (I don’t want to be charitable.)

-Many bad back links to your website

Undoubtedly true–my site has been around since 2004, so I am sure there are many unsavory links. There are also a lot more good links. I don’t judge this to be a problem, but it sure sounds awful, doesn’t it? Google knows that you don’t control who links to you–bad backlinks (yes, it’s actually written as one word) are an issue only when there are so many that Google suspects that you have been manipulating your inbound links–perhaps by faking them or buying them. I’ve never even solicited links to my site, so the chances of this being a real problem are very low. It is starting to seem like the same email goes to every person on our friend’s mailing list, without any real investigation ahead of time.

Looking at the above issues and other additional improvements for your website, I would request you to give us a chance to fix those issues. Our team of Search Engine and Social Media experts are here to serve you with best inputs. If you are interested in learning more about current status of your website, we would be glad to share WEBSITE AUDIT REPORT of Mikemoran.com for FREE.

You will feel the difference once you get services from our company as we never let our clients expectations go down. Being at the top left of Google (#1- #3 organic positions) is the best thing you can do for your company's website traffic and online reputation. You will be happy to know that, my team is willing to guarantee you 1st page Google ranking for your targeted local keyword phrases.

Big red flag here. They are guaranteeing results, which no reputable SEO will ever do. Moreover, they guarantee for “local” keywords because they know they can just make a specific enough locality and get results. For my business, they could do “Paramus NJ SEO consulting” and get top results, but that keyword is completely useless to me. I draw clients from all over the world who couldn’t care less where I am located and would certainly not search for me by my location. This claim sounds good but is useless for me (and many other businesses). If local search is useful to your business (“NYC pizza”), you won’t get that keyword–because lots of companies want that keyword. You’ll have to settle for “23rd St Manhattan pizza,” or something else that no one searches for. That’s because no one can promise results for a keyword that anyone else wants. They can promise results only for keywords that no one wants.

If my proposal sound's interesting for your business goal, feel free to email us, or can provide me with your phone number and the best time to call you. I am also available for an online meeting to present you this website audit report.

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Best Regards,

<name withheld to protect the guilty>
Marketing Consultant

It is the sad state of the Internet today that I am withholding this person’s name, rather than publicly exposing him, because bad guys do bad things, and I don’t need to make myself a target unnecessarily.

PS I: I am not spamming. I have studied your website and believe I can help with your business promotion. If you still want us to not contact you, you can ignore this email or ask to remove and I will not contact again.

Of course you are spamming! You are sending an unsolicited commercial email without having my permission to email me. You couldn’t have studied my website. If you had, you would have seen that I am not a person who would buy your services. Then maybe (just maybe) you would have been able to use my name in the opening salutation, instead of “Dear owner of mikemoran.com”–now we know this person is outright lying. This isn’t a mistake.

PS II: I found your site using Google search and after having a look over your website I recommend you to implement future technologies such as HTML5 and Responsive Design to make your site more accessible in mobile phone, tablets, desktop etc.

Again, we use Responsive Design, so, no. But what is funnier is that if you found my site through Google, doesn’t that seem like maybe my site shows up a little bit in the search results, and I don’t need you?

Please, folks, there are lots of legitimate SEO people out there. We don’t send unsolicited emails. We don’t promise results. We don’t claim to have looked at your site when we haven’t. But we probably cost a lot more than this guy, because we actually do the work you need done. On behalf of the industry, we’re sorry that clowns like this guy keep flooding your email, but all we can do is ask you to search for us. If we are any good, you’ll find us.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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Discussion

  1. Avatar Manash Mukherjee

    Indeed! this is common problem faced by any SEO or internet marketer. As far as trust is concern it depends on two things – 1. Existing portfolios, 2. Solid custom strategy. We need to find out the problems related to clients online business and come up with relevant solutions that can works. However Thank you Mike clarifying these doubts for business owner.

  2. Avatar Jeff Ganim

    Love this article

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